Céline Condorelli: The Company We Keep

October 3, 2013–April 1, 2014
Curated by Su-Ying Lee
Co-produced by G Gallery, University of Guelph School of Fine Art with parallel exhibition We Just Came to Say No
Presented at Hart House by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Installation view of  Céline Condorelli: The Company We Keep , 2013-2014. Image credit: Toni Hafkenscheid

Installation view of Céline Condorelli: The Company We Keep, 2013-2014. Image credit: Toni Hafkenscheid


The Company We Keep (2013), Among people, among things, among thoughts, in the present as well as in the past

Photograms of 230-volt AC incandescent globe light bulbs with Edison 27 mm male screw base, 
125mm x 175mm, 40 and 25W; crown and lateral aluminium reflective coating, dipped Pebeo vitrea 160 glass paint no.01. Sandblasted with berry roman neutral font 44pt.

The Company We Keep, was an installation of twenty light bulbs, screwed into existing electrical fittings throughout Hart House, which addressed a double absence: the historical exclusion of women both from the house, and from the discourse on friendship in philosophy. The work explores friendship making reference to Hannah Arendt’s definition of culture as “the company that one chooses to keep, in the present as well as in the past”, which suggests the importance of befriending people and also ideas, issues, objects, something chosen and renewed through thinking and doing. Etched on the glass are words and colours that, depending on light conditions and time of the day, show up as shadows on walls or ceilings, in a sequence that would, if navigated and read entirely from room to room, read through a vocabulary of elective affinities, therefore inhabiting the house with the missing voices of friendship.

In addition to this site-specific installation at Hart House, Céline Condorelli also presented an exhibition titled We just came to say No at G Gallery.

The installation and exhibition employ inanimate objects as stand-ins for the voices of the inhabitants of past, latent or forgotten circumstances. Puppets, that at once obscure the human hand and convey human stories, recount histories of injustice in Condorelli’s video installation We just came to say No. In the instance of The Company We Keep, the light bulb, an essential everyday object and symbol of progress, is used to reveal the shadows of friendship. Both these works demonstrate the artist’s attentiveness to context. We just came to say No mines the political history and the puppeteering tradition of Sicily while The Company We Keep is a work specially produced for Hart House, a gothic revival building with a long extracurricular history, particularly catering to the male academic.


Support Structures: A workshop with Céline Condorelli

Saturday November 24, 2012, 11am-2pm
Hart House

Artist Talk

Monday October 7, 2013
Featuring Céline Condorelli
University of Guelph School of Fine Art

More info on "We Just Came to Say No" here.